Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Sanjay Nawalkha

Second Advisor

Nikunj Kapadia

Third Advisor

Matthew Linn

Fourth Advisor

Michael Sullivan

Subject Categories

Finance and Financial Management


In "A Multi-demensional Transform for Pricing American Options Under Stochastic Volatility Models", we present a new transform-based approach for pricing American options under low-dimensional stochastic volatility models which can be used to construct multi-dimensional path-independent lattices for all low-dimensional stochastic volatility models given in the literature, including SV, SV2, SVJ, SV2J, and SVJ2 models. We demonstrate that the prices of European options obtained using the path-independent lattices converge rapidly to their true prices obtained using quasi-analytical solutions. Our transform-based approach is computationally more efficient than all other methods given in the literature for a large class of low-dimensional stochastic volatility models. In "A Multi-demensional Transform for Pricing American Options Under Levy Models", We extend the multi-dimensional transform to Levy models with stochastic volatility and jumps in the underlying stock price process. Efficient path-independent tree can be constructed for both European and American options. Our path-independent lattice method can be applied to almost all Levy models in the literature, suach as Merton (1976), Bates (1996, 2000, 2006), Pan (2002), the NIG model, the VG model and the CGMY model. The numerical results show that our method is extemly accurate and fast. In "Empirical performance of Levy models for American Options", we investigate in-sample fitting and out-of-sample pricing performance on American call options under Levy models. The drawback of the BS model has been well documented in the literatures, such as negative skewness with excess kurtosis, fat tail, and non-normality. Therefore, many models have been proposed to resolve known issues associated the BS model. For example, to resolve volatility smile, local volatility, stochastic volatility, and diffusion with jumps have been considered in the literatures; to resolve non-normality, non-Markov processes have been considered, e.g., Poisson process, variance gamma process, and other type of Levy processes. One would ask: what is the gain from each of the generalized models? Or, which model is the best for option pricing? We address these problems by examining which model results in the lowest pricing error for American style contracts. For in-sample analysis, the rank (from best to worst) is Pan, CGMYsv, VGsv, Heston, CGMY, VG and BS. And for out-of-sample pricing performance, the rank (from best to worst) is CGMYsv, VGsv, Pan, Heston, BS, VG, and CGMY. Adding stochastic volatility and jump into a model improves American options pricing performance, but pure jump models are worse than the BS model in American options pricing. Our empirical results show that pure jump model are over-fitting, but not improve American options pricing when they are applied to out-of-sample data.